14 West

Empowering a Network with a SaaS Data Lake

14 West is the business services arm of The Agora, a network for more than 40 of the world’s most innovative media and marketing companies. While The Agora Companies operate independently from major cities in 17 different countries around the world, they all share one major characteristic – openness to leading-edge and alternative ideas, including the creative marketing ideas that bring them to readers on six continents.

A significant amount of 14 West’s operations focus on sending emails to the companies’ subscribers and potential subscribers. In 2018, the group sent about 14 billion pieces of content to its customers and subscribers. The content and delivery methods create a lot of useful data that can be captured and used to help deliver the right message at the right time via the right channel for subscribers.

The 14 West IT team saw an opportunity to consolidate data from siloed operational systems to make it more accessible and available for analytics. The data volumes, variety and vision dictated a modern platform, with capabilities for advanced analytics, beyond SQL. 

The Cazena SaaS Data Lake as a Service with Cloudera on AWS delivered the ideal solution, with built-in automation, security and no admin required.

“We didn’t want to take on the burden of standing up a Hadoop environment and maintaining it. At my past organization, we had about ten folks working on it full-time. We felt there wasn’t value in that. Now Cazena can do this for us.
Private SaaS was also a lower risk way too to see if a data lake would meet our needs. We were able to get an environment for advanced analytics up really quickly, without needing to hire a team.”

Reid McLaughlin, Chief Information Officer, 14 West



  • Consolidate data into a single Data Lake, accessible to marketing intelligence team, other business groups and network affiliates
  • Expand beyond SQL to add advanced analytics, machine learning streaming data and a foundation for data monetization
  • Implement quickly, without any new IT resources, major training requirements or expensive consulting
Solution: SaaS Data Lake as a Service

The deployment choice helped the team move quickly. Since they did not need to hire a team to maintain the environment, they could focus on hiring thought-leaders and more strategic analytic professionals to drive value from the data lake.

14 West’s data lake moved into production in days. The data lake currently processes data from most major applications in the architecture, including CRM, email, web logs, and others. The storage and processing of customer and usage data has enabled the IT team to accelerate delivery on several of its goals for the year.

Solution Partners

Cazena's SaaS Data Lake embeds many AWS products including Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon Elastic Block Service (EBS), Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS and standard services such as Amazon VPC, AWS Transit Gateways, AWS Route 53, AWS Key Management Service and others. 

Best-of-breed capabilities are embedded and regularly updated to the latest version (EDH, CDP, etc.)

Results & Outcomes


  • Deployed data lake to production quickly and cost-effectively, with no new staff required.
  • Empowered self-service analytics supporting a wide variety of use cases, from faster operational reporting to advanced ML/AI.
  • Fast deployment and adoption across a network of affiliates, enabled by private SaaS data lake.

The processing power of the data lake has allowed the team to reduce the time to insights from days to hours by allowing them to deliver and refresh operational reports faster. The data team is also building more capabilities here, adding more data streaming, using Kafka and Spark to build more complex data pipelines. 

“Cazena has allowed us to focus our resources on adding more data thought-leaders to the group. We’ve been able to build out our strategic data engineering and not have to build out a huge operational team.”             

Reid McLaughlin, CIO, 14 West

Learn More


For a longer case study about 14 West's SaaS Data Lake as a Service journey, complete the form below.

Industry: Management Consulting, Marketing and Business Services
Headquarters: Baltimore, MD
Data: Email, CRM, web logs, etc.
Website: https://14west.us/
Solution Partners: AWS, Cloudera, Qlik, Thoughtspot

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